Demand in West Texas Prompts New Banking Program at Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business

By April Chavez, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University

Positive economic growth in West Texas continues to drive the demand for qualified employees across a variety of sectors. Behind the economic growth lies the banking industry, which needs qualified employees of its own. In response to the economic and industry events that have led to the demand for qualified bankers, the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University in Lubbock has developed a new Excellence in Banking Program

“We are excited to partner with banks and bankers to help satisfy a critical need in West Texas and across the state,” says Margaret L. Williams, dean of the Rawls College of Business. “This program was motivated by Rawls alumni who are leaders in the banking industry, and with their help, we plan to develop a curriculum to prepare students to address the banking needs of the future. We expect students to be work-ready from day one to begin their successful careers in banking.”

Launching this fall, the program is designed to produce top-notch bankers by giving students a comprehensive understanding of modern banking operations and practices. Students will complete courses in finance, accounting and advanced banking topics. To make certain that it is preparing students for current industry demands, the program will be advised by a seasoned board of industry leaders.

“Input from bankers has informed our planning process and will continue to ensure that our curriculum is current and prepares students for successful careers in banking,” says Jeffrey Mercer, senior associate dean of the Rawls College of Business. “We are including industry certifications in the curriculum and making sure students are prepared for a variety of banking careers in different types of banks.”

The curriculum will be enhanced by a required internship in banking, a mentoring program, opportunities for students to visit banks—including the Federal Reserve Bank—conferences and workshops, a speaker series, student organization activities and other interactions with banking professionals and successful alumni.

With a comprehensive curriculum, the program is also designed to prepare future executives at community and rural banks, something industry professionals say is in short supply, especially as a generation of baby boomers prepares to retire.

“This program will present our students with opportunities beyond
the classroom that will better prepare them for the workforce and, in turn, contribute to strengthening the state’s banking industry,” says Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University president.

“The banking industry is delighted that Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business has listened to our needs and designed the Excellence in Banking Program to provide quality students, who will be well educated and have experience in the banking industry,” says Scott Dueser, president and CEO of First Financial Bankshares. “With this first-class program, students should be immediately ready to positively impact banks upon joining the industry.”

“With the level of scholarship support we will provide, top students will be attracted to this program,” Williams says. “By listening to our banking partners, we will be sure those students have the skills necessary to add value to their banks and tackle the challenges that face the future of banking.”

“Texas Tech University is meeting a critical need in the financial services industry by creating a national caliber commercial banking program,” says Tracy Bacon, chief operating officer of FirstCapital Bank of Texas. “Texas banks depend on the kind of experienced, driven graduates that the Rawls College of Business produces, and we look forward to seeing these students contribute to our business and impact the communities we serve.”

Williams says the ultimate goal is to establish a program of excellence that can be sustained into the future. To achieve this goal, Rawls College has established a target endowment level of $10 million to support scholarships, program activities and faculty, including a program director dedicated to leading the Excellence in Banking Program.

“We are fortunate to have lead gifts from several prominent individuals and foundations, and we continue to seek banks and bankers who want to be involved,” Williams says.

For more information about the Excellence in Banking Program or to support the initiative, contact Courtney Jordan at courtney.jordan@ttu.edu.

Published in Bankers Digest August 26, 2019